What Are the Mental Health Benefits of Running?

What Are the Mental Health Benefits of Running?

At Feetures, we believe your feet are the foundation of your health and wellness, from head to toe, or in our case, from toe to head. That’s why we’re extra excited for fall. With the cooler weather comes more opportunities to lace up and hit the road or trail. Did you know that running not only supports your physical and cardiovascular health but can also significantly improve your mental well-being? Below are just a handful of the great benefits you can look forward to after that morning jog.

The Renowned Runner’s High

When you run, your pulse increases as your heart forces blood through your body more, and your breathing increases as your respiratory system works harder. As you push yourself forward, your body releases hormones known as endorphins. Some believe endorphins are responsible for these post-run feelings, while other experts credit the body’s endocannabinoids. Whatever the cause, for many, running is one of the most effective ways to experience elation and happiness. 

Improved Memory & Cognitive Function 

Simply put, when you run, your brain works better. Some studies suggest running could help your focus and ability to learn, and some believe it even prevents the degrading of your hippocampus, which is vital to memory. Cardiovascular exercise also supports the creation of new brain cells through a process known as neurogenesis, which may improve cognitive function while preventing cognitive decline.

Reduces Stress, Depression & Anxiety

Many runners use the sport to control their stressors and mental tension. Exercise like running helps manage the brain’s stress responses by increasing a chemical known as norepinephrine. When you run outside, you also receive benefits from the sunshine, allowing your body to produce more vitamin D. This can decrease the chances of experiencing depression.

Better Sleep at Night 

It’s been said that running can also help you sleep better at night, which helps with stress, anxiety, and overall health. Exercising hours before bedtime can increase your body temperature, and when your temperature stabilizes after your run, it can signal your brain that it’s time for sleep. 

Improved Productivity & Creativity

When you’re feeling unmotivated, try a short run! Studies show that people who regularly make time for exercise are more effective, productive, creative, and energetic than their less active colleagues. Some even swear by a midday run to maximize their bodies’ circadian rhythms.

Don’t fall behind this autumn! Put on your favorite pair of Feetures socks, lace up those sneakers, and head to your local nature trail for a relaxing run amid the changing leaves.


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